Tuesday, October 25, 2016

24 years


Through 24 years of marriage to my beautiful wife I am learning that the intimacy we enjoy is a fruit of the choices we make.

Sure, things like 'chemistry' and 'attraction' and 'compatibility' have had a part to play, but these things have little to do with lasting companionship and intimacy.

When we've relied on chemistry and attraction to be the source of emotional and sexual intimacy, then we fall into a cycle of trying to impress one another - rather than truthful connection with each other.

We are super grateful to God that the union He has given us is resulting in the development of four young men, and our hope is that they too will experience the joy of intimacy through the choices they make.

We have found that we are immersed in a culture that screams the priority of 'who you find yourself attracted to' as the guarantee for relational fulfillment, but as I look at Gods Story, and as I reflect on my own experience - it seems that the fulfillment we seek will only emerge through sticking to the choices we make.

We choose each other every day (and we can't help but be attracted to each other!).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

noticing God at the grave


It was a dreary day.

The northern Victorian sky disclosed more of a winter tale than it did a spring sonnet - a song which would have made more sense when composed in an Australian September.

But the cool air and heavy clouds confessed the mood of the sombre, umbrella-carrying crowd who gathered at the local cemetery - anticipating the rain to fall at any moment.

As a family of falcons danced in the air at a distance, the motorcade pulled up behind the hearse, and a grieving widow made her way to the graveside accompanied by her six children.

"Where can God be found here?"

Almost as if on cue, a lone falcon breaks ranks from the cast and hovers just metres over this family - as if God Himself was watching over them in their grief - palpably present through a minuscule, yet majestic, agent of His creation.

Those who noticed the solitary bird were prompted towards hope as they stood in support of the family in their loss.  If they could breathe deeply enough they would encounter a resounding peace - found through a gentle tear, a heaving sob, and a determined embrace.

After the Pastor shared some heart-felt words, each family member released a balloon into the dark sky - symbolising their surrender to their new reality - a reality of life without their beloved husband and father being with them.

The pain of aloneness hung as heavily as the dark clouds for moments that seemed like forever, until a family friend ushered his way through the crowd and held them - embracing each one individually, deliberately and compassionately.  It was almost as if God Himself had broken through the crowd to hold them... and hold them.

Respects were then paid as people filed past the casket. The crowd were dismissed with unopened umbrellas still in hand.  Not a single drop of rain had fallen - as if God Himself had something to do with it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

hopeful


Last night as part of VERGE I was given the opportunity to reflect through seven words that helped us retell the story of the day.  I spent some time wondering how God might reflect through these parts of the story:
BROKEN-HEARTED - "I ached for you as I heard the cries of your children."
PROMISE - "I sought you by binding myself to words of security."
FAITH - "I restored you into my friendship when you said 'yes'."
SLAVERY - "I wept for you while you were being exploited and used."
DELIVERANCE - "I intervened for you when you lost your dignity, and your hope."
MOUNTAIN - "I provided a better way, that you might know Me and my heart."
SILENCE - "I wait for you.  I wait with you."

Saturday, June 25, 2016

please take my survey

So, I need your help ... when I completed my training at Adelaide College of Ministries in 1996, the college had just been accredited as a higher ed provider - so I was grateful to receive an Advanced Diploma for my three years of study, and also grateful for the opportunity to upgrade to a degree with a little bit of extra work.


Embarrassingly, that small amount of work has almost taken me 20 years to complete.  I have one paper to submit - a research project which I have titled "Investigating the place of a discovery-based learning model in the context of current Youth Ministry practice."

And .. I need some public opinion data - which is where you come in!  If you could click here and take 10 minutes to answer 10 questions, that would be amazing!!

Create your own user feedback survey

Friday, March 4, 2016

story shot - covenant

The binding promises God made with His people have always been about capturing their hearts - sure, there are external things He put in place to remind us humans of our part in the relationship, but God never intended to shape a people through behaviour modification ... so, our understanding of covenant is super important ...


story shot 1 - covenant-web from Trav Johnson on Vimeo.